Wednesday, January 21, 2009

BOOK TOUR and WHAT'S YOUR NEW BOOK ABOUT

Some stuff happened yesterday I heard. Some government thing or whatever. Buncha people listening to a speech...

I'm so tired of hearing about it. Look, every God damned day is a historical day. Every God damned day the world changes forever. I know there's some pretty cool stuff going on, what with a president whose dad was from the country I called home in my childhood and all that. Plus he has a Klingon name. Good. Fine. OK. I GET IT.

Enough.

Phew.

ANYWAY, I'm still setting up World Domination Tour '09 (my book tour) and looking for venues. Right now I have some potential gigs in Portland and in Saskatoon probably in late April thru late May. It would be nice to fill in some stuff between in Seattle, Vancouver BC and anywhere else up there in the Northwest. So if anybody's got any ideas, please write me at spoozilla@gmail.com.

If anyone knows a booking agent that would be nice to have.

One of the things I keep getting asked lately is, "What's your new book about?" I always have trouble answering this one. When you ask anyone who makes some work of art what it's about or what genre it falls into they have a hard time answering. Everyone knows the old cliche of the band with three lead guitars, a giant fire breathing skull prop and a bank of Marshall amps who claim they're not heavy metal. Same with me.

It's a Zen book, I guess. That's where it'll be filed anyway. Although I was very gratified when Book Soup in Los Angeles filed Sit Down And Shut Up in the music section just after its release. They later moved it to "spiritual," which bummed me out. Such is life, though. It's about my mom dying, my grandma dying, my job ending and my marriage falling apart. It's also as much as this about the Dharma and how that worked into all of these things. I got fed up with Zen books that ignore real life and pretend we're all just sitting on mountain tops being beautiful. That's a lousy fantasy and it needed kicking in the teeth. Nobody was doing it, so I had to.

The other day I watched the Star Trek episode The Enemy Within. In this episode, Cpt. Kirk is split into two halves, one "good" and the other "evil." The "good" Kirk is easier to deal with, but he can't make any decisions and gradually begins to lose command. As Mr. Spock explains it, "What is it that makes one man an exceptional leader? We see here indications that it is his negative side that makes him strong, that his 'evil' side, if you will, properly controlled and disciplined, is vital to his strength."

There's another scene in which they're debating whether to tell the crew what has happened. Spock says (and this is from memory, Star Trek geeks feel free to correct me), "You are the captain of this ship. You haven't the luxury to be seen as anything less than perfect. If the crew sees you as less than perfect they lose faith and you lose command."

This also figures into the nature of the book. I think a lot of spiritual (forgive the use of that term) teachers believe this. They believe that they have to put on a front, to be seen as perfect, that if they are seen as anything less their followers will lose faith in what they teach. This, I think, is the basis of a lot of what goes on in the world of religion.

Of course, none of these teachers really are perfect and when word gets out about their imperfections, sure enough their followers lose faith and all heck breaks lose. If anyone wants to know how this has worked in the Zen world read Shoes Outside the Door: Desire, Devotion, and Excess at San Francisco Zen Centeror The Great Failure: My Unexpected Path to Truth. I won't rehash those stories here. Basically they're about what happens when folks who see Zen teachers as perfect beings find out they're not.

I've already had problems with people whose mental projections of me don't match what I really am or what they believe I ought to be and who experience tremendous disappointment and anger as a result. Some of this is in the new book. I've watched this same stuff happen with my own teachers as well. It seems almost a rite of passage.

I don't know if Mr. Spock is right about captains of Starships. Perhaps he is. I don't think this logic applies to Zen teachers, though. It's vital that we present ourselves realistically. It is impossible to present yourself completely in any book and I haven't tried. But what I have tried is to present the bare facts. I decided that if someone was going to write a Shoes Outside The Door or Great Failure type book about me, it was damned well gonna be me who did it first. I've dug up dirt on myself I guarantee nobody else could possibly have found. And hopefully I've also dug up some deeper truths than they could have discovered either.

I don't know how the book will be received. I imagine a great many readers will hold on to their fantasies. They'll read my account and think, "Well Brad isn't the superman I was looking for, maybe someone else is." They will be wrong. But they'll have to find that out themselves. And that will be much more painful.

138 comments:

Jinzang said...

I'm so tired of hearing about it. Look, every God damned day is a historical day.

Sounds like someone is still mad that his candidate didn't win the election.

I think a lot of spiritual (forgive the use of that term) teachers believe this. They believe that they have to put on a front, to be seen as perfect,

The way I was taught, you're supposed to proclaim your faults and hide your virtues. Of course, a lot of students like to THINK their teacher is perfect. It's an ego thing. But if a teacher is being led around by their students' expectations, they've abdicated their role as teacher.

mtto said...

Sounds like someone is still mad that his candidate didn't win the election.

But did anyone really expect the Simmons/Stanley ticket to win?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like someone is still mad that his candidate didn't win the election.

Gee, I guess it's inconceivable that someone simply has little patience with symbolic hooplah or with seeing it treated as if it amounts to a lot.

Rich said...

OK, you've hooked me. Can't wait to read all the dirt. Plus we have something in common - losing the closest people.

Your background and experience does not give you a full appreciation of the Obama Phenomena.

Jinzang said...

I'm so tired of hearing about it. Look, every God damned day is a historical day.

One more thing. Obama's executive order suspending the military tribunals in Guantanamo was a declaration that the United States no longer practices torture. And that's history enough for me.

Anonymous said...

Amazon now has a href="http://www.amazon.com/Zen-Wrapped-Karma-Dipped-Chocolate/dp/1577316541/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1232569107&sr=8-1">Look Inside Zen Wrapped....

so you can read the chapter headings and the first few pages of the first chapter.

The first sentence:

"My mother's piercing howl careered off the walls of the museum..."

after that you kinda just know it's not going to be a "what Dogen meant when he said" book.

Anonymous said...

Sigh!

Look inside Zen wrapped....

Washington State Brad said...

"Look, every God damned day is a historical day. Every God damned day the world changes forever."

and

"I got fed up with Zen books that ignore real life and pretend we're all just sitting on mountain tops being beautiful. That's a lousy fantasy and it needed kicking in the teeth. Nobody was doing it, so I had to."

its theses little nuggets trhat keep me coming back for more. cant wait for the new book.

NellaLou said...

Even when one is sitting on a mountain top is isn't all its purported to be. Cold, rain, hauling water, walking all day for food and so on-real necessities of life don't magically vanish with a little sprinkling of bodhicitta dust. Same with retreats etc. It is just what it is and doesn't matter where.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vino said...

You should dig up some stuff on that dharma punx guy that keeps ripping you off.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I voted and support Obama. The only second thought I have in retrospect is his marketing of "Hope". It's one thing to wet the mind and inspire the heart but to market "hope" as a presidential campaign is like giving an exacta ticket to millions of people. I understand peoples reaction " if you don't have "hope" what do you have?" I feel you have a lot, such as the present moment. Hope projects the future and takes one out of the moment. Have you ever seen the face of hope? IE people buying lotto tickets. The race track. The slot machine. I fully support our president and as a citizen of the United States will strive to support his goals with all my heart.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYLy1Yj_P_Q

Rick said...

I'm looking forward to the new book too. It's not a common combination where an author manages to write something about zen, seems to know what he's talking about, and is readable all at the same time. I guess it's kind of like juggling.

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

"I'm so tired of hearing about it. Look, every God damned day is a historical day. Every God damned day the world changes forever."

A-MotherFucking-men

(and I voted for the guy)

DJ Voton said...

Some stuff happened yesterday I heard. Some government thing or whatever. Buncha people listening to a speech...
He's a cynical, hack politician who's been elected because of his race. He's surrounded by weirdos and gangsters. Nothing good has happened. White people are BAD. Everyone's doing what Mr. TV tells them to do, because, you know, if you don't listen to Mr. TV, there goes your whole world view out the window. So what's new?

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The ultimate test of Obama's integrity is
whether he holds Bush, Cheney, & Co.
accountable for their crimes.

Don't hold your breath :(

babbles said...

I read the Amazon preview to your new book, and I am hooked.

I'm so tired of hearing about it. Look, every God damned day is a historical day.

Couldn't agree more.

ZenCodeMonkey said...

So let's say I had a I-am-everything experience last year just like the one you described on your first book, except that it was more interesting because I actually HAD instead of reading it - but after some six hours it faded away...

... does it entitle me to a free lifetime membership to SuicideGirls ? =)

diarmuid said...

babbles said...
I read the Amazon preview to your new book, and I am hooked.


I'll second that.

Shobu said...

"Some stuff happened yesterday I heard. Some government thing or whatever. Buncha people listening to a speech...

I'm so tired of hearing about it. Look, every God damned day is a historical day. Every God damned day the world changes forever. I know there's some pretty cool stuff going on, what with a president whose dad was from the country I called home in my childhood and all that. Plus he has a Klingon name. Good. Fine. OK. I GET IT."

Fucking WAAAAHHHHH! Brad. You can put your binkie back in your mouth now and go play Zen.

Actually, it was a funny post, given how you devoted a couple of paragraphs to crybabying over Obama, and then went on to shill your book.

Oh, I'm guessing your new book has something to do with this "Zen" stuff. Call me crazy.

BTW, I'm a bit of an asshole, so it is pretty easy for me to recognize this stuff when I see it.

Later.

Anonymous said...

mysterion: its O.K. Relax...

Anonymous said...

life is not so much about being "Right" or "Wrong" so much as it is about "LIVING". the only way to come to your own terms with Life, is to Live it yourSelf. or rather "be a lamp unto yourselves"... hmmm...anyways remember all that stuff about questioning everything...

true Faith is not having to believe, but knowing without a shadow of a doubt

according to Who? said...

after all, Perspective is everything.

Anonymous said...

for a brief moment, i feel much better about myself

Justin said...

I don't know how the book will be received. I imagine a great many readers will hold on to their fantasies. They'll read my account and think, "Well Brad isn't the superman I was looking for, maybe someone else is." They will be wrong. But they'll have to find that out themselves.

Most people won't give a shit. Your book is completely unimportant. Whether people think you're perfect or not is unimportant. Apart from a few fanboys, most people realise you are an ordinary person and quite flawed. What is important is the quality of the lives we live and the ways we conduct ourselves. For this we need to get over our unimportant egotistical attachments, and cultivate genuine humility instead of making attention-seeking gestures of self-effacement. Learn to live for others. Get over yourself.

The new presidency of the USA will make a far bigger difference to people's lives, whether you confuse easy cynicism with zen or not.

Alphonzen said...

I used to think that Brad Warner was right about Ken Wilber, but I don't know anymore.
Brad seems to be more concerned with self centredness and rebellious posturing.

At least Ken Wilber promotes serving others.

Dharma1 said...

Brad doesn't have anything on Eckhart Tolle. Hes not up to the standards.

peteshreds said...

I dont understand how people can call Brad self-centered. There is a concern that the new book will not be recieved well which a natural concern from someone who is putting their soul into something - but the people who do get something out of it will be greatful they had the resource available to them. The concern that people will lose their fondness or mental vision that they had is a bullshit thing to be concerned with. If they are having those kinds of visions its obvious that they are not having a realistic outlook on what is important and it will bite them in the ass sooner or later. Same thing can be said about buying a new car or getting a new job. All things are impermanent and anyone who is interested in Buddhism enough to give a shit about the new book or this blog should understand that to some extend, if not then the universe will eventually teach them the right lesson.

Sebastian said...

One thing is still clear to me, you're still a jerk. But what else can ya expect from a punk.

Please keep writing these books of your I like to read, amigo. Cheers and good luck out there!

Alan A said...

Brad wrote:

"Some stuff happened yesterday I heard. Some government thing or whatever. Buncha people listening to a speech...

I'm so tired of hearing about it."

And then Brad wrote:

"I got fed up with Zen books that ignore real life and pretend we're all just sitting on mountain tops being beautiful. That's a lousy fantasy and it needed kicking in the teeth."

Question: Is that a koan? Or just a guy who's confused?

SlickCalifornia said...

Brad,

I'm sure your new book will be well received if it is as honest and clear about the very hazy concepts of Zen Buddhism as your previous work.

I've benefited greatly from reading your story and your explanations of Zen, enlightenment and all the rest.

I look forward to your visit to San Francisco in a few months.

Anonymous said...

Here's a great name for
an Obama-era punk band:

NSA

(Nazi Scumbag Assholes)

Anonymous said...

IM SO TIRED OF HEARING ABOUT IT. LOOK, EVERY GOD DAMNED DAY BOOKS ARE BEING PUBLISHED THAT AUTHORS HAVE WRITTEN...

haven't read it, waiting for my pre-ordered Amazon copy to arrive...

can't help thinking the book is to the zen crowd
what the burning bag of shit left on the door step
is to middle schoolers

Fun to watch that bad Bradster ring the doorbell and then hide and wait to see 'how it is received.'!!
Fun to watch the pious at the door: to put the fire out is to get their feet all in it!

as for Brad
the little shit
IS the shit!

Anonymous said...

you had to write your own great failure/shoes outside the door book on yourself because there isn't anyone else interested enough about what you do at this point to care to write about it

'sides, your writing style is pretty sly, can't think of anyone who'd do you justice, and if you want someone to do it right, might as well do it yourself, damn it

an' you gots to think of doing sumptin' while waiting for employment between SG articles

Muaddib878 said...

I'm so tired of hearing about it. Look, every God damned day is a historical day. Every God damned day the world changes forever. I know there's some pretty cool stuff going on, what with a president whose dad was from the country I called home in my childhood and all that. Plus he has a Klingon name. Good. Fine. OK. I GET IT


Is this a joke? Really I'm asking.. Remarks like this only reinforce my thoughts that zen is as divourced from reality as any other religion.

For the first time in 8 years we don't have a fucking idiot as president any more.. This is cause for a little joy, no? Or do you think it doesn't matter who holds office? Do you think we had to go to war needlessly in Iraq for example?

Also, to draw another example - do you think its possible that certain decisions on the part of the american president may have led to nuclear warfare during the cuban missle crisis?

I don't know what you mean "tired of hearing about it" Do you encounter people on the streets jumping up and down screaming for Obama? WTF? Of course the news networks are going to cover his inaugration on the 20th; of course they are going to report on his first executive decisions (like closing gitmo - but I suppose it doesn't matter if the US keeps torturing suspects - it has nothing to do with us - we're zen and we transcend all that!)

Whatever - its more religous nonsense..

Justin said...

It's not Zen that's divorced from reality it's Brad and those who follow him.

To Brad and friends, the subject of his new book and whether people think he is 'too perfect' or not or whether Brad is referred to as 'roshi/zen master', is more important than the first black presidency of the USA and the over-turning of the neo-con nightmare than has cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars over the last 8 years.

Rich said...

Electing Barack Obama president is probably the most zen thing that has ever happened in America. The Buddha self nature has been recognized by many people in each other if only for just a moment. I am overjoyed that the little one knows she is equal and can achieve whatever her goal may be (this is personal). I wish for the President's success knowing that their will also be failures. But it is always the trying to do the right action which is the real success and that is why I have confidence in the President.

gniz said...

In my eyes, based on what i've seen of the two guys, Obama is far more "middle-way" than Brad, seems to have his life far more in balance, and gives me far more hope about the world in general.

But I'm looking forward to Brad's next book. He's a really good writer and this looks like a real interesting read.

gniz said...

BTW, not to hijack the comments section, but i'm continuously amazed by how "normal" Obama seems to come off. I feel like he actually gets the joke of how crazy the whole presidency thing is, that he understands a lot of it is bullshit. It comes out a lot in his humor and is a nice change of pace from presidents that behave like humorless automatons (GW, Reagan, etc).

Anonymous said...

Hiya,

unrelated post but anyway,

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1123147/I-wait-baby-No-11-says-rampant-rabbi.html

James, England.

p.s. can't wait for the new book!

Anonymous said...

Gniz sed: I'm continuously amazed by how "normal" Obama seems to come off. I feel like he actually gets the joke of how crazy the whole presidency thing is, that he understands a lot of it is bullshit. It comes out a lot in his humor and is a nice change of pace from presidents that behave like humorless automatons (GW, Reagan, etc).

Gniz, Obama currently enjoys an 80% approval rating. Your non-objective feelings are in line with the current optimism. But things change. I won't be surprised when some people turn on him after it becomes fashionable.

Anonymous said...

brad...you weren't on the mall tuesday.

i sincerely wish all of you could have been there.

anybody else here make it there?

barry

Anonymous said...

"It's not Zen that's divorced from reality it's Brad and those who follow him."

Justin, You follow him as closer than most. Your delusion just takes a different form some of the others here.

gniz said...

Anonymous.

I'm sure there will be a backlash against Obama, there always is....it will probably be a pretty hard comedown when it happens...you know the line, the bigger they are the harder they fall...

I just like the guy, he seems kind of sane to me.

Anonymous said...

Obama is fundamentally dishonest
for not admitting that the wars
in Iraq and Afghanistan are about
oil and gas. "Terrorism" is a
convenient fiction created by the
military-industrial-intelligence
bastards to "justify" their theft
of natural resources.

"Chop wood, carry water"; it's
all about natural resources --
the question is: can you do it
without engaging in the use of
force and fraud?

gniz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alan A said...

As a relative newcomer to Zen I'm hopeful that the rest of it isn't marked by quite the degree of nonself-involvement reflected in Brad's election commentary...

Anonymous said...

'nuff 'bout other people and stuff
more 'bout me 'n what I'm up to, 'n what I'm doin'
and are there any body people out there to help me with my book, my tour?
the new book's about me, and this here blog's about me ('course it is)
and oh, every now and then it's about things I like
and things I don't like
and things I've had enough of--like things that aren't about me!

babbles said...

I think a problem with the uber crazy Obama infatuation is that it does lead to an attachment to the feeling of . . . Obama (for lack of a better word).

In my opinion I do think it is best to acknowledge the importance of Obama's election and inauguration but then to move on.

Being unreasonably attached to things, so I've heard, is typically not a good thing.

gniz said...

Being unreasonably attached to not being attached is also not a good thing.

Just because i think Obama's cool, or that he got elected makes me happy, does not mean I'm overly attached to Obama. In fact, i'd say most people aren't.

It's like being psyched when you watch Jordan dunk a basketball or Brady throw a touchdown. You just get excited and happy. And with Obama, its cool because he's also replacing a horrible, awful reign of GW Bush.

The idea that being happy about this is somehow un-buddhist or something is just silly.

Anonymous said...

Brad
aren't you in Texas? No wonder you're so blase about the inaugural doin's
How's Skylar (your niece, right?)
How's your nephew--hope things are going well for him.
Have a safe trip back home.

the shark said...

I'm so tired of hearing about it. Look, every God damned day is a historical day.

You are right. Every day is historic. So why do you care if some people choose to recognize it as such?

Anonymous said...

The word "HOPE" is used 10 times so far

Anonymous said...

http://www.101467.agchurches.org/SiteFiles/101467/Content/Images/hope2.jpg

emptyzen said...

Its good to read your views again, gniz.

I think ultimately, what Brad means is that although, yes Barack will bring change, ultimately real big change happens through the individual and how they conduct themselves.

Putting hope in something external is a kind of distraction from your personal experience.

Its an interesting philosophy though. To Brad, cleaning your dishes really mindfully, is more important than closing guantanamo or stopping the iraq war.

Anonymous said...

http://www.demotivateus.com/posters/hope-demotivational-poster.jpg

Anonymous said...

http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/images/Know%20Hope.jpg

Anonymous said...

http://www.21stcenturyfilth.com/uploaded_images/HOPE_02-723742.jpg

Anonymous said...

the word "HOPE" is used 16 times on this page

Empty The Movie said...

Emptyzen, It just seems immature and reactionary...cynical even, to label all the excitement about Obama as people being overly attached, not focused enough on themselves, etc.

Its childish and extreme to assume that. I mean, to be honest, i've barely even paid attention to politics since Obama won. But I'm pretty happy he got in nonetheless.

Its a rather large assumption to make that someone who supports Obama or has a political opinion, a stake in anything other than washing their own dishes or their zafu, is somehow un-Buddhist, un-enlightened, or whatever other easy label someone could attach.

Having no opinion about politics, or not giving a shit about things outside your own dishes, does not make anyone more self-aware or more spiritually advanced.

babbles said...

gniz

It seems like you are making an argument out of nothing at all.

I flat out stated to acknowledge what happened - here at the election or watching MJ play.

The key, I think, in my previous point is "unreasonably attached." Root for, be happy, cheer or whatever but there does come a point in time where it is not so much about the event (or person) but rather about maintaining some sort of elated feeling. I think that is the attachment issue.

Likewise unreasonably keeping a grudge of hatred against somebody is probably an attachment issue.

Justin said...

'nuff 'bout other people and stuff
more 'bout me 'n what I'm up to, 'n what I'm doin'
and are there any body people out there to help me with my book, my tour?
the new book's about me, and this here blog's about me ('course it is)
and oh, every now and then it's about things I like
and things I don't like
and things I've had enough of--like things that aren't about me!


Brilliant!

NellaLou said...

Just read the excerpt over at Amazon. It reads like the Suicide Girls article a while back with the bitch-slapping self-mortifying pole dancer or whoever. But this was about his mother's death.
Is there anything this guy won't sensationalize to bring attention to himself?
Unfortunate as he seemed to have a lot of potential-read the posts in this blog of a couple of years ago. Good stuff.
Seems to be falling for his own hype now.
Another one bites the dust.
Fucking Hell.

Anonymous said...

Brad won't mention the name Obama. wonder what that's about...

Phil said...

Bought the new book today in Victoria BC Canada. Guess it came out early here.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunate as he seemed to have a lot of potential-read the posts in this blog of a couple of years ago. Good stuff.
Seems to be falling for his own hype now.
Another one bites the dust.
Fucking Hell.


A lot of us feel this way. I loved the stuff Brad wrote before he became semi-famous. Same thing would have probably happened to me if I'd written a successful book and been chosen as head of some international sangha. Still, it is disappointing.

gniz said...

"Unfortunate as he seemed to have a lot of potential-read the posts in this blog of a couple of years ago. Good stuff.
Seems to be falling for his own hype now."


I concur and have been saying it for awhile now. Although Brad still writes interestingly, it seems to be more about provocation and less about actually getting something across that feels genuine....the style now feels more contrived, more desperate for attention. In the past it really seemed like he was someone who was just putting out some stuff he'd figured out in a simple way, but that morphed (I'd say around the time he moved to LA and made writing Zen his career))....

Justin said...

I agree too.

He seems to have evolved into a shadowy reflection of what he originally wanted to be an alternative to.

Al Coleman said...

Everyone here need to chill the fuck out. Nobody worships Brad, but he knows his stuff. A blog's purpose is for the expression of opinion. Don't read it if you don't like what he says. I don't think Brad feels he is self important. He needs push his book. He is a WRITER. That is his vocation you idiots. What, just because he practices Buddhism means he can't make money and market himself like the rest of us?

I sit plenty and happen to find a great amount of value in Brad's teaching. In fact if it weren't for Brad's book my old anger habits would have prompted me to take the stone I'm lifting in my avatar and crush you all with it.

Gassho:)

Rich said...

"Its an interesting philosophy though. To Brad, cleaning your dishes really mindfully, is more important than closing guantanamo or stopping the iraq war."

brad went on a rant several months ago dissing the whole idea of mindfulness, but I see your point and your comment best be directed to Barack.

Re: attachment/non attachment to Obama. The whole feeling-accepting-lettinggo-acting is interesting because it can all happen in a moment or you can make it into a big production. Sitting helps develop a sense of timing.

I hope I don't read Brad's book and say 'where's the beef?' but for 10 bucks I think I'll get my moneys worth. Why do PHD's charge so much more for their books?

Anya said...

Wow, Brad has completed the descent into total irrelevance. Apparently, the fact that he wrote a book about his wife thinking he's not a man and Jundo writing him a mean email is way more important than Obama closing Gitmo, banning torture and warrantless wiretapping, and giving medical aid back to countries that allow abortion, all within his first few days in office. And he even managed to throw in a childish, xenophobic jab at Obama's name. Stay classy Brad! Yeah, I can't imagine why a conservative middle-aged white midwesterner can't see why anybody would care that we have our first president who wasn't white and had a foreign name. What's really relevant is how profound whichever b-list celebrity Brad hung with last week said about topic x and how it demonstrates a real Buddha-like wisdom that namby pamby "Buddhists" just don't get. Because somehow their 30 years of sitting zazen the exact way Brad advocates didn't enlighten them enough to realize that edgeplay and the military are punk, and punk is zen. Or something.

Really Brad, it may be just time to hang it up.

-anya_baranova@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Al Coleman is an asshole and needs attention like brad

Rich said...

Al said:
"A blog's purpose is for the expression of opinion. Don't read it if you don't like what he says"

I like some of the things Brad says. It's just that our viewpoints are different. So the question is how do you have world peace with so many different viewpoints? I guess anger management is a good start.

babbles said...

Anya -

Unfortunately I found your post very illogical and, frankly, somewhat senseless.

You essentially compared Brad's accomplishments (or lack thereof) to what President Obama has accomplished. What is the point of that?
Why would you compare what Obama does with what Brad does?

You find Brad is irrelevant in light of Obama's accomplishments. I suppose that is fine if that is what you truly believe, but I personally find that relatively shallow and illogical.

Al Coleman said...

Yes anonymous(who is afraid of getting his head smashed in) I need attention considering this is probably the 4th post I've ever made since the inception of this blog.

Anya said...

Babbles, I think you missed the point. It's silly to write 'blah blah stupid Obama who cares' as Brad essentially did (not for the first time) and then follow up it up with a bunch of self-centered and ultimately unimportant shit. The comparison isn't something I pulled out of my ass, it's RIGHT THERE. And honestly if zen is about just sitting with suicide girls and bad metal musicians and doing dishes, and holding these acts to be more important than whether we torture people, respect womens' rights, or attack Iran, then Zen is useless (however, I don't really believe this is what Zen is).

--anya_baranova@hotmail.com

Uku said...

Looking forward to read your new book someday, Brad. Great post! Respect to you for being honest.

Take care,
Uku

andro said...

Justin, Gniz.. Do you believe how stupid Brad is for saying what he thinks and then using his real name? We even know what he looks like. You two anons are truly wise and wonderful for continually pointing out his flaws. gniz has been doing it for years. Brad is clueless and you two really get it. kudos to both of you.

Anonymous said...

What a surprise that Brad's book tour is of greater importance to him than Obama's inauguration. Hope you're being upstaged won't cut into the book sales, Mr. Zen Capitalist!

gniz said...
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gniz said...

I admit its rather pointless for me to post when i think Brad's being provocative and desperate. I usually do it when I'm cranky. Normally I just think it and move on.

your mother said...

Al Coleman holds a white ball in his profile pic. This obviously means he wishes for a WHITE world. Since when is zen part of the White Power movement? All that meathead weight lifting may be going to Al's head. Time for some serious zazen, lil' Al.

Justin said...

In my opinion, reading the work of someone you often disagree with can be worthwhile. Expressing a counterbalancing point of view is not necessarily a waste of time.

Justin said...

And honestly if zen is about just sitting with suicide girls and bad metal musicians and doing dishes, and holding these acts to be more important than whether we torture people, respect womens' rights, or attack Iran, then Zen is useless (however, I don't really believe this is what Zen is).

Don't worry, this isn't how most zen practitioners think. It's Brad's misunderstanding. Whenever someone presents zen as a belief system, value system or ideology, let a little warning light go on in your head.

Anonymous said...

Man, Justin really knows zen.. He's awesome.

Anonymous said...

Al Coleman is an asslicker who got his 2 minutes of blogger fame on Brads wondrous zen site.

Anonymous said...

That's awful.. Thank goodness Mr. Coleman knows you are confused.

babbles said...

Anya -

It's silly to write 'blah blah stupid Obama who cares' as Brad essentially did (not for the first time) and then follow up it up with a bunch of self-centered and ultimately unimportant shit. The comparison isn't something I pulled out of my ass, it's RIGHT THERE.

I think this is a very pedestrian understanding of things. You appointed yourself the judge of what is important and unimportant. It is rather audacious to sit back and selectivity determine what is important and unimportant.

And honestly if zen is about just sitting with suicide girls and bad metal musicians and doing dishes, and holding these acts to be more important than whether we torture people, respect womens' rights, or attack Iran, then Zen is useless (however, I don't really believe this is what Zen is).

Washing one's bowl is just as important as closing Gitmo.

gniz said...

"Washing one's bowl is just as important as closing Gitmo." Certainly it is to you, or maybe to your husband/wife, etc.
But realizing that some things are more valuable to people outside of your little circle DOES have some validity. That kind of blase attitude kind of feels like you're taking a crap on what other people have to deal with in this world.
Realizing how lucky i am to live comfortably, typing on my little computer in my nice warm house, never worrying about where my next meal is coming from, never worrying about maybe being imprisoned for my beliefs, never worrying about being judged because of my skin color....i think it's sad to pretend that by "washing my bowl" i'm doing something as important as Obama closing gitmo.

I get that we need to worry about our own lives and relationships, but oversimplifying with these kinds of statements is part of what irritates me about Brad and people who agree with his latest statements regarding politics. Let's not go too far in the direction of self-centered thinking.

Let's be happy that there is a little less torture and brutality in the world at this moment then there was a few weeks or days ago.

-Gniz

Anonymous said...

gniz:

washing your bowl IS closing gitmo
closing gitmo IS washing your bowl

it's just a 'bigger' bowl if you will--it's the mixing bowl--or the bigger mixing bowl

'course the self is always the bowl getting washed


brad is an artist and artists aren't the usual fare of folk
he is a musician of sorts and a writer of sorts
considering this deeply is to understand better
the strengths which are his weaknesses and his weaknesses which are his strengths

he is a working artist This isn't quite the same as a lay practicioner, but he is unprotected out there in the world
his is not a protected monastic setting.
nor 'should' it be
these are just the facts of the situation
he won't always be so 'callow' if you will (for lack of a better term at this moment as I type)
he
and everything else
is evolving
he is brave where he is brave

his book comes to us through his efforts and through the efforts of so many others who make his book possible
in fact it is everything in all places and all worlds which make his book (and everything else, including the washing of your bowl and the closing if gitmo)possible

gniz said...

Anonymous,

I like the way you put it. If only Brad and others could be as artful in stating this as you, I wouldn't complain. It's the "belittling" way that I read some of those previous comments (and Brad's article), that somehow closing Gitmo is actually LESS important than washing your bowl.
Now no one actually said that, but sometimes its implied when Brad or others sort of poke fun at how everyone is happy about Obama being elected or cares about politics. Again, one does not negate the other (Gitmo closing or bowls being washed), and so really the two have nothing (and everything) to do with one another.

Rich said...

the power of thinking is like having a nuclear mind bomb. It's very useful if focused properly but causes collateral damage if launched without a guidance system.

Anoushka said...

I believe that Brad is a proponent of the butterfly effect. Doing dishings, cleaning your room, smiling at strangers is more far reaching and positive than electing Obama. Anything done out of mindfulness and takes into consideration, the universe as one entity, is more effective than millions of idealists electing another idealist. Its all divisive.

Of course, I haven't meditated for 25 years to realize what he is talking about, and neither have you.

Fred said...

Amazon shipped your latest my way today...

Is it pre-signed?

Ga-sho-nuff

ATLawyer said...

You are all a bunch of assholes.

Anonymous said...

mr coleman has a penis head

Anonymous said...

Brad's written another book.

It's not the type of Zen I want to read about.

Brad's not behaving how I want him to.

Brad's not behaving how I think a 'real' teacher should.

Brad is so bad.

Why o why is brad so selfish?

Why o why will brad not be how I want him to be.

It's all Brad's fault.

...

Some people take themselves waaayyy to seriously on this bog.

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Gniz, this thinking of LESS or MORE important may be the center of all of our problems. And just who(?) knows exactly what happened at Gitmo? All we THINK we know may just be information passed along through devices of entertainment like newspapers and television.

Jinzang said...

It doesn't matter much if Brad thinks people got too excited about President Obama's inauguration. You may agree or not (I don't), but it doesn't mean Brad is a fraud or he's lost it as a teacher. It's just a couple of sentences on a blog, for gawd's sake! It illustrates the point that people are to fast to jump to conclusions: this is bad, this is good ... chill a little and just let things be. These snap judgements usually say more about our state of mind than about what we're judging.

I appreciate the work Brad is doing for the dharma, as I know running a weekly meditation group is 99% grunt work and 1% glory. Try to remember the good Brad is doing the next time he says something really stupid and hold back a little on the nasty remarks, ok?

Mysterion said...
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Mysterion said...
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Anonymous said...

"washing one's bowl
is just as important
as closing Gitmo."


prove it. then explain that
to an afgani who got
tortured because his neighbor
collected a bounty on him to
get his property....or one of the
teenagers who ended up in that
100 degree hole.

barry

Fat_Man said...

Amazon.com Sales Rank: #3,094

#1 in Books > Religion & Spirituality > Buddhism > Dharma >

#2 in Books > Religion & Spirituality > Buddhism > Zen >

#19 in Books > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Eastern >

And, it's Chinese New Year - Gung Hay Fat Choy!

babbles said...

Jinzang
These snap judgements usually say more about our state of mind than about what we're judging.

I could not agree more.

The post you made above was pretty well thought out and most people should easily agree with what you said.

Barry -
prove it. then explain that
to an afgani who got
tortured because his neighbor
collected a bounty on him to
get his property....or one of the
teenagers who ended up in that
100 degree hole.

barry


Wash your bowl.

Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Brad.......

You probably remember Bodhidharma's precepts, which you even included in your first book.

How you should know that words carry weight. Every word is a coin lost.

May your practice flourish.

Justin said...

What a waste of time.

We should all get back to the important realities of our lives: washing our bowls, caring for others around us, being aware of wider realities and the genuine effects that our actions have on the world, oh and celebrating the inauguration of the new president.

Mike H said...

How did people get from "...New President... I get it" to "Brad's wants Gitmo to stay open?"

There's an article in the UK about Guantanamo 2 that is still open and expanding and not subject to presedential closure.

If GitMo is closed AND the people detained there are released then that will make a difference to the people concerned and their families. But at the same time let's be honest and say that from what documentaries I've seen in the UK the people coming out of that place have been seriously damaged by it and may never recover fully from what was done to them in the name of "The American Way of Life".

Now President Obama might do some good in the world and might make a good president but he is just some guy and he's not the second-coming of the messiah. I doubt if his hands will be stain-free by the end of his term either. His job can be a dirty one.

Since I live in the UK I'm not entirely sure what difference he'll make to my life although at the same time if he sorts out the USA financial system it will make a difference to me.

Mike H said...

P.S.

It would be nice to believe that all those people in Guantanamo are guilty in some way of being bad people but that's hard to believe.

The US has for years been offerring rewards to Afhani and Iraqi warlords if they find for the US members of Al Quaieda - known/suspected or otherwise.

This seems from the warlord's point of view to be a nice cash-for-bodies scheme.

Guantanamo does not appear to have been an information goldmine.

Anoushka said...

Stating the factoids:

We are being idealistic.
We are projecting our ideals onto Brad.

And therefore not accepting Brad as he is.

Not accepting Brad as he is, is a violent action.

Justin said...
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Justin said...
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Justin said...

Brad is being idealistic.
Brad is projecting his ideals onto the world.
And therefore not accepting it/us as we is.
Not accepting it/us as we is, is a violent action.

Anoushka is being idealistic.
Anoushka is projecting her ideals onto the world.
And therefore not accepting us as we is.
Not accepting us as we is, is a violent action.

Justin is being idealistic...etc

It can go on and on. People judge others and others judge them for it. While it's good to help others with their suffering by speaking out about suffering and taking steps, from the zen perspective it's important to try not to be judgmental. It is possible to help others without getting caught up in our feelings of right and wrong. Some people are very good at this.

And the butterfly effect doesn't work like that. The effects described in this phenomenon are totally chaotic (ie. random) therefore nothing predictably important or beneficial comes of washing your bowl (apart from its becoming clean), whereas predictably important and beneficial things have a good chance of coming from the inauguration of Obama and even from celebrating it.

What zen teaches is that if we attend to ourselves in the right way - if we are aware and compassionate - this will affect others and ourselves in a good way. This would apply to a celebration of Obama's inauguration as well as washing a bowl. And in my opinion means not being dismissive and judgmental about the importance of and people's reaction to inauguration of a historical new president.

Zen also teaches us to try to give ordinary events as much attention as big exciting events. But this is not the same as saying that all events are equally important (which is a value judgement) or that giving some events more importance than others should be criticized. And we can be certain that Brad treats some things (his book sales for example) with more importance than things such as hair fashion, Genpo roshi's feelings or Obama.

It is obvious that Brad just doesn't like politics or liberals and is annoyed by the fuss.

And that's completely OK. But what I think is worth speaking out about is that fact that he presents his preferences as Zen or as if somehow supported by Zen. This is false dharma. Most readers of Brad's books are young and have little other exposure to Buddhism and are therefor easily misled.

Alphonzen said...
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andro said...

"it's important to try not to be judgmental. It is possible to help others without getting caught up in our feelings of right and wrong. Some people are very good at this."

Justin, This should not be applied only when it fits in with what you already believe.

Jinzang said...

"Wash your bowl" is a curious phrase, which I guess is taken from this koan:

A monk told Joshu, "I have just entered the monastery. Please teach me."
Joshu asked, "Have you eaten your rice porridge?
The monk replied, "I have eaten."
Joshu said, "Then you had better wash your bowl."
At that moment the monk was enlightened.

It sounds like people are taking this phrase to mean that Zen is being conscientious and mindful of the details of everyday life. Maybe so so, but I'd guess that there's more to the koan that that. I find that when I interpret Zen in a moralistic way (do this and don't do that) I've misunderstood Zen. The chief purpose of Zen is understanding and not behavior.

Rich said...

Brad said:
"Some stuff happened yesterday I heard. Some government thing or whatever. Buncha people listening to a speech...

I'm so tired of hearing about it."

I think he was just tired of hearing about it. I didn't feel that.

My book has been shipped and I respect his right livelihood. Will let you know what I learn.

Mysterion said...
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PhilBob-SquareHead said...

"The chief purpose of Zen is understanding and not behavior."

THIS MAY BE Jinzang's zen, but not necessarily the zen of others.

I didn't know there was a purpose!

And before you quote some dead master or past teacher of yours, try putting YOUR zen into Jinzang's words. Than we may be on to something Grasshopper.

Mysterion said...

"The chief purpose of Zen is understanding and not behavior."

What is "understanding?" If you mean realization, then perhaps there is some space for agreement. If you mean aware of the present moment...

The purpose of Zen is to be "less."

1) Less elated (manic).
2) Less bummed (depressed).
3) Less compulsive about the future.
4) Less compulsive about the past.
5) Less attached to material things.
6) Less angry.
7) Less biased.
8) Less bitter.
9) Less of an asshole (I'm still working on this).

With enough "less," you can approach nothing and nothingness is highly valued in my distorted view of Zen.

Austin said...

"then Zen is useless"- Anya

And you're dissapointed? Who told you different?

At some point, we're just some ants on some mound, scrambling to build, and it's all useless.

Karma is inevitable. For every good thing Obama does, someone out there will react. So is it all bad or all good? If more people spent their time writing about the melodrama of their lives, we wouldn't need Obama.

Believe The Onion's headline, "Black Man Given Nations Worst Job."

Jinzang said...

And before you quote some dead master or past teacher of yours, try putting YOUR zen into Jinzang's words.

You should consider what those old dead masters and past teachers said much more reliable than what I say. I'm just some schmoe with an old imac and a dsl connection. But since you asked for my opinion and I'm not shy about handing them out, here it is.

Once a student has been practicing Zen for a while a horrible transformation takes place. They become an accomplished Zen practitioner. They learn how to sit motionless. They learn the chants and the rituals. They memorize the usual Zen quotes and catch phrases. But despite knowing all this stuff, there's one thing they don't see. All these accomplishments are performed out of a contrived mind. All behavior is a contrivance. Understanding is seeing contrivance as contrivance, abandoning it, and resuming our natural mind. That's mahamudra and that's zen.

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Point made.

proulx michel said...

Anoushka said...

I believe that Brad is a proponent of the butterfly effect. Doing dishings, cleaning your room, smiling at strangers is more far reaching and positive than electing Obama. Anything done out of mindfulness and takes into consideration, the universe as one entity, is more effective than millions of idealists electing another idealist. Its all divisive.

This seems quite correct to me. It doesn't mean that one shouldn't have voted for Mr O if one thought it would do for a good change. But that is somewhat remote. BHO will not change much if we don't do that and expect him to do all the work.

As for us, on the other side of the Atlantic, the situation is even much more surreal. Anyone who is a bit politically conscious knows that The US will keep fostering the barbary of Israel upon Palestinians, try to keep Europe from doing anything concerted, push upon the British for sabotaging any initiative that might be annoying to the US Administration, and laugh out loud at our French high-heeled dwarf president.

Expecting too much of BHO will only help him fail.

Anonymous said...

what a lot of pretentious lame brained crap

Andrew

Rich said...

the purpose of zen is understanding your true self.

Anonymous said...

To work authentically with other people, avoid projecting your woes onto them. When you see others in a negative light, think: are you projecting? Also understand that when others criticizing you, they may well be criticizing a projection of themselves.

When others are using projection, you can hold up a mirror to show them what they are doing. As usual, this may well be met with other forms of resistance.

Anonymous said...

the purpose of zen is to kneecap the brain which it does very well

Andrew

i know, i've been there btw

Anonymous said...

the "to work authentically" post is a very good example of self kneecapping

valid criticisms are turned back themselves into a toxic moil of slything and writhing

its hard to break free of it and is a process of decades

you have to see notions of enlightenment are crap and buddha is just the usual religious fairy tale

Andrew

Jinzang said...

the "to work authentically" post is a very good example of self kneecapping

That post starts:

To work authentically with other people, avoid projecting your woes onto them. When you see others in a negative light, think: are you projecting

Sounds like good advice to me. You don't believe there's such a thing as psychological projection? There's an old story about this.

One day a man was taking an evening walk. A stranger came up to him and said: "I was thinking of moving to this village, but before I move here, tell me, what are the people like?"

The man asked in return, "What are the people like where you are from?"

The stranger frowned and said, "They're the nastiest, most unlikable group of people you'd ever meet. That's why I decided to move away."

The man said, "You'll find the people here are the same."

The stranger frowned and kept going down the road, looking for another village.

A month later the man was out for his evening walk and another stranger came up and asked: "I was thinking of moving to this village, but before I move here, tell me, what are the people like?"

The man asked in return, "What are the people like where you are from?"

The stranger smiled and said, "They are the friendliest, most generous people in the world."

The man said, "You'll find the people here are the same."

The stranger smiled and stayed on the village.

Mysterion said...
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Anonymous said...

Aaron McGruder, African-American cartoonist of "Boondocks" fame, made this statement concerning Obama worship:

"I did say I was cautiously pessimistic about Obama's Presidency - but this is simply acknowledging the reality of an American Empire that is out of control and on the verge of collapse. Let us not forget that on the eve of the election, we witnessed a near-trillion dollar robbery of the US treasury. That robbery is still taking place. I do not blame President Obama, but I do not believe the financial and corporate interests that own and control this country will fold so easily. I do not question the integrity of the man as much as the power of his office - which I believe has greatly diminished over the years. I believe the Federal Reserve Bank, the Military Industrial Complex, and the massive corporate interests that run this country have more power than our new President. I hope I am wrong.

"After 9/11, I witnessed most of this country become obsessed with squashing dissent and silencing critics. I hope this election does not turn Black America towards this same, fascist mind state; but already I am starting to see it, and it saddens me greatly. I absolutely wish our new President and his family success and safety. But after all I have witnessed in my lifetime, and especially in the last eight years, I am not ready to lay down my skepticism or my outrage for this government. To do so would be unwise and, ironically enough, anti-American."

Khru said...

Oh my, some of you folks are so incredibly tense.

I suggest the following:

1)Sit on a cushion for 25 minutes, counting your breaths, possibly facing the wall and after,

2)Ejaculate

Anonymous said...

mysterion, i guess your nick gives it away, kitsch from top to bottom , but you have a hubris characteristic of antidepressants

interesting link to noah levine who has aspergers syndrome

ever come across that word before?

if you want to sharpen your rather blunt thinking skills try some quality reading like schopenhauer

i must be schizophrenic to even think you could be slighly interested in stepping out of your self built box

Andrew

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to pretend to speak for Brad, but I think I get what he's saying about the recent election. Separate the perception from the reality.

A lot of people (arguably 'right' or 'wrong') have invested a lot of meaning and symbolism into the election of Obama. From a Zen perspective, these things are empty, and attaching to it is misleading.

That's not to say the event is empty--the event is real. The important part underlies the symbolism.

I voted for the man too--but I didn't vote for him because he's black and my age and because it would just be soooo cool to show how we've turned the corner on racism by validating MLK's dream and how this will transform society by righting historic wrongs and now we'll be on the right track and all the evil will be vanquished yada yada yada...

I voted for him because I thought he was the most qualified to take on the problems we've got right now. Now he's President. Cool. Great. Bitchin.

Now it is time to wash the bowl. :)

PS. Looking forward to the new book.

BASboy said...

I like the book. I ended up ordering your first one as well once I finished it. I think finally something I can relate to that isn't all mystical. I just started sitting my Zazen, 3 days in and only a lifetime to go. Thanks for they eye opening information. You say you missed the mark, I say take a page from your own book. "Bullseye"

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